Some OFWs allegedly forced to work as domestic helpers to weather pandemic


Posted at May 04 2020 10:30 AM

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Some manpower agencies are allegedly forcing overseas Filipino workers to serve as domestic workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, a sector advocate said Monday. 

These agencies are required to provide lodging and food to OFWs who clean buildings. However, many of these agencies have stopped receiving job requests with businesses shuttered to prevent the disease's spread, said Susan Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute 

"May mga nag-report sa amin, pinipilit na silang gawing domestic workers para lang kumita iyong agency sa kanila dahil pinapakain [sila] sa accommodations. Wala namang kumukuha sa kanila ngayon," she told DZMM. 

"Iyong iba, nire-repurpose ang contract at pinipilit pumirma ng waiver na parang sarili ko tong kusa na magtrabaho na lang as domestic worker," she added. 

(We received reports that some OFWs are being forced to become domestic workers just so their agency could earn because they are required to feed their workers even if they are not being tapped for jobs right now. Some have their contracts repurposed and are forced to sign a waiver saying they volunteered as domestic workers.) 

Ople said she also feared that many OFWs would lose their jobs if lockdowns continue worldwide. 

She urged Senate and House labor committees to look into the welfare of migrant workers. 

OFWs who will lose their jobs or are stranded in the Philippines due to its lockdown will get $200 from the government, said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello. 

The labor department allotted P1.5 million for this and so far approved about half of 307,000 OFWs who applied for the aid, he said in a separate DZMM interview. 

DZMM, May 4, 2020